If you are interested in starting a small business in Ontario, you may be interested in registering a Master Business Licence. This business licence allows you to operate your business in Ontario under the business name you wish to use.
There are three types of Master Business Licences that can be registered:
- Sole Proprietorship (1 person)
- General Partnership (2 or more people)
- Tradename (Operating-as name under an existing corporation)
The fees for registering a Master Business Licence are quite low and allow you to get your business started up quickly and easily. Registering your Master Business Licence with Ontario Business Central allows you to obtain your completed document on a same-day basis, directly to your email address, so you always have an electronic copy for your records. But, if you do ever need a copy resent to you, we keep it on file for the 5 years that it is valid, so we can quickly resend it solely to you upon request.
What information is on a Master Business Licence?
A Master Business Licence is a one-page document that includes the name of the business along with the address, name of the owner(s) and business activity. If the Master Business Licence is registered as a Tradename under a Corporation, the legal name attached to the registration will be the corporate name instead of an individual name.
The Master Business Licence also includes a Business Identification Number (BIN), which is a 9-digit number unique to the licence and is used to make amendments to the licence or renew it when it’s time to do so. Master Business Licences are valid for 5 years, and both the creation date and expiry date are listed at the bottom right corner of the document. In order to keep a Master Business Licence active, it would need to be renewed every 5 years. When registering with Ontario Business Central, we will maintain the required renewal date of your registration and send you an email notification prior to the expiry date of your registration.
There is a 60-day grace period after this expiry date, where you are still able to file a renewal, however after this date has passed the licence can no longer be renewed and will drop archived to Ministry system. If this happens, the only way to reactivate the business licence would be to register it as new. This means a new Business Identification Number (BIN) would be issued, and the creation date would change to the new registration date.
What does a Master Business Licence provide?
Before registering a Master Business Licence, it’s important to understand what the business licence provides and does not provide.
A Master Business Licence provides:
- 5 Year Registration
- Ability to operate and advertise a business name in Ontario
- Documentation to open a business bank account, tax accounts, etc.
- Access to wholesale or discounted pricing from suppliers
A Master Business Licence does not provide:
- Name protection in Ontario
- Liability protection for the individual owner(s)
- Potential Corporate tax benefits
- Flexibility to make changes to the registration
Revenue Canada Accounts
Ontario Business Central can also assist with registering any Revenue Canada accounts on your behalf, if you require these to be set up. This can include GST/HST, Payroll and Import/Export accounts.
When registering accounts with Revenue Canada for your Master Business Licence, you will first be issued a Business Number (BN). Once this number has been created, any accounts you require with Revenue Canada can be set up.
You can request that Ontario Business Central set up these accounts on your behalf when you submit your order for your Master Business Licence, and you would simply need to provide the SIN and date of birth of all owners on file when your completed Master Business Licence is sent to you.
Why choose Ontario Business Central?
Ontario Business Central provides services above and beyond the Ministry and other service providers, including:
- Pre-screening your registration information to check for possible errors or conflicts against any existing regulations that the Province of Ontario may have
- Optional Canada-wide name pre-search for existing small businesses, corporations and trademarks
- A copy of your Master Business Licence is kept on file for the 5-years it is valid at no additional fee, and can be resent to you upon request
- A reminder email notification is sent to you before your Master Business Licence expires, so you are able to renew it
Ontario Business Central can assist with registering your Master Business Licence quickly and easily.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out and speak to one of our dedicated staff who are always eager to assist new business owners.
Office Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Monday – Friday E.S.T.
Ontario Business Central Inc. is not a law firm and cannot provide a legal opinion or advice. This information is to assist you in understanding the requirements of registration within the chosen jurisdiction. It is always recommended, when you have legal or accounting questions that you speak to a qualified professional.
Lisa Shaw is a Corporate Specialist and the newest member of the team at Ontario Business Central. After completing her B.A. in Communications and Sociology at York University, Lisa took her passion for writing into the freelance world of sports writing for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in Fighters Only Magazine, Showdown Combat Sports and Full Contact Fighter, among others. Lisa strives to provide the highest level of service to each and every client she works with at Ontario Business Central.